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August 18th, 2017 1:51 pm
Image of the Day: A Powerful Tribute to Free Market Capitalism
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Economist Deirdre McCloskey will soon release her new book entitled “Bourgeois Equality:  How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World.” It it, she describes the unprecedented transformation  and improvement of human wellbeing through the power of economic freedom, as illustrated by this graph:

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The Power of Free Markets

The Power of Free Markets

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As McCloskey summarizes, that’s the result of the free market revolution:

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[I]n the two centuries after 1800, the trade-tested goods and services available to the average person in Sweden or Taiwan rose by a factor of 30 or 100.  Not 100 percent, understand – a mere doubling – but in its highest estimate a factor of 100, nearly 10,000 percent, and at least a factor of 30, or 2,900 percent.  The Great Enrichment of the past two centuries has dwarfed any of the previous and temporary enrichments.  Explaining it is the central scientific task of economics and economic history, and it matters for any other sort of social science or recent history…

The modern world was made by a slow-motion revolution in ethical convictions about virtues and vices, in particular by a much higher level than in earlier times of toleration for trade-tested progress – letting people make mutually advantageous deals, and even admiring them for doing so, and especially admiring them when Steve Jobs-like they imagine betterments.  The change, the Bourgeois Revaluation, was the coming of a business-respecting civilization, an acceptance of the Bourgeois Deal:  ’Let me make money in the first act, and by the third act I will make you all rich.’”

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It’s something for which we should all remain grateful, and hopefully more readily defend against the eternal onslaught of statism.

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